For someone who likes to write, I sure hate keeping journals. They are so time consuming and bland. I’d rather spend that time reading a book or staring off into space day dreaming. That said, a food diary has probably been one of the best tools I’ve ever used in my past weight loss journeys.
There’s something very real and satisfying about holding a notebook that’s filled with your own writing. You can look at it and say, “I did that!” The journal becomes a symbol of all the hard work you put into losing weight. Days, weeks, even months later, you can look at all those filled pages and know that you have accomplished something.
When you want to give up, look at those pages and understand just how much time and effort you have put into becoming a better you. It’s sometimes very easy to belittle what you have done and only focus on the negative. With a journal, you have proof that you HAVE done well in the past. Instead of beating yourself up for that ONE night of indulgence, look at all those good, healthy meals that you’ve eaten the rest of the week and give yourself a pat on the back.
When I first started using a food diary, I used a simplified version that was quick, easy to use but also still held me accountable. If you are like me and hate the idea of journaling, consider trying my method.
Write down all the food items you eat in a day. Don’t worry about portions or sizes, unless it is unusual like eating one grape or a whole pizza. Don’t even bother with calories. Include your weight to find patterns with how much you weigh and what you eat. Figure out how many days will be on each page, then find a notebook that will be filled when you reach your weight loss goal date.
Even if you don’t count your calories or actively try to eat healthier, you will become very informed about your eating habits. After a few months, when you become more in the habit of writing stuff down, you can even expand to occasionally spot checking the calorie counts of some of your meals to become more informed about just what you are eating.
Try it for a week. Experiment with different methods or different journals. Find one that works for you and have at it!